Thursday, January 27, 2011

My Stay in Nairobi, Kenya ~ Part Two

 Welcome to my newest follower Candace.
I hope you will find many interesting things on my blog.

On my first night in Nairobi I stayed at the United Kenya Club.  It is very near the University of Nairobi and adjacent to the YWCA which is initially why I booked a room here. I thought I would be swimming and also using the fitness room at the club. The Club is a bit quaint and rustic which some might say adds character, but for me I found it just a little too far me to walk comfortably to the downtown core.   I opted to stay at the 680 Hotel which you can read about here. This hotel is downtown and across the street from nightclubs so I made sure to ask for a room on the quiet side and thankfully the room was quiet and restful. I also found the hotel management to be very friendly and welcoming, greeting me and talking to me in the lobby and in the dining room.

Before deciding where to stay I did look at several hotel properties however I found most of them over priced and too far from where I wanted to be. It is important when travelling to a place such as Nairobi not to be so far from where you wish to walk as it is not good to walk anywhere as a tourist after dark.  Always take a trusted taxi. Let the hotel book it for you rather than book it for yourself unless you have a Kenyan friend who can help you.

While in Nairobi I did many fun things which I have never done before. First up was a visit to the Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage.  The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is a small charity established in 1977 to honour the famous Naturalist of the same name.

I took some film footage of the baby elephants frolicking in the mud and the elephant trainers giving their presentations. Unfortunately this was one of the videos I lost when I lost a memory card (more about that in another blog).  The babies were having such fun and I never would have believed their playful antics. They were much like little children as they wallowed in the mud and pulled each other back in as one tried to get out of the slippery hole.  These were priceless and touching moments.

All the baby elephants bond with their trainers who even sleep at night with their charges to assist the psychological development of the baby elephants who will one day be reintegrated into the wild. If the elephants are not emotionally stable when they are reintegrated they will not be accepted. The trainers rotate their charges on a regular basis so that the baby elephants do not become overly dependent on one trainer. Each baby elephant is fed a special formula concocted by Dame Daphne Sheldrick, the first human in the world to hand rear milk dependent newborn African elephants.  It took her 28 years of trial and error to succeed.

The tiniest elephants wear these blankets. I didn't quite get the reason for it but I think it is to make them feel comfortable and secure or at the very least, to keep them warm.  There were many tourists there that day from Australia.  One Aussie woman told me that she considered Kenya to be her second home as she had been visiting the country for 14 years.

There is a wonderful 3D Imax movie which will be out in Spring 2011 called Born To Be Wild. It will feature the wonderful work of Dr. Birute Galdikas and Dr. Daphne Sheldrick, amongst the orangutans of Borneo and the baby elephants and rhinos in Kenya, respectively. I'mposting the official trailer for the movie here for your easy viewing.

Another interesting place I visited was the Wilson Airport. This airport is very close to downtown and is often used for domestic flights or flights to neighbouring countries. It is also the place where tourists take off for various safaris to points all over the country if they have opted to fly to their destination rather than take a road journey. It is a very busy airport.

It was a very hot day the day that I was at the airport but I sat and watched many planes full of safari passengers leaving on their exciting safari adventures.  I did get a bit of a sunburn from sitting in the open rather than in the shade. After that experience I made sure not to sit in the intense open sun again!

Planes of various sizes depart from Wilson Airport, Nairobi, Kenya.
Now one experience which many tourists absolutely must have is a dining experience at the Carnivore Restaurant on the outskirts of the city.  Here you are fed slabs of meat by the kilo and you can eat all you like. Kenyans love their meat and call it nyama choma (which means roasted meat), though this restaurant appears to be frequented mainly by tourists for the novelty of the place.  Good nayama choma can be found in many places for much cheaper so wise Kenyans know how to stretch the budget. You can see some of the skewers of meat in the background.  The restaurant is huge and there are outdoor patios as well as areas for shows and entertainment.

One of the local comedians who goes by the moniker "Churchill" (real name Daniel Ndambuki) broadcasts a live show from this restaurant venue every Thursday night. You can see one of his shows here Churchill is wearing the black blazer and jeans at about 1 minute 15 seconds into the video. I did not take in a live show but I did watch him on television quite a lot. The crowd goes wild for him every week.

The chefs at the Carnivore are ready at the barbecue grills with all kinds of meat for your eating pleasure.  Don't you love the zebra patterned aprons?

Stay tuned for more on Nairobi and Kenya.
You can read part 1 of my journey here.


  1. It is so heart warming to know that the elephants are so well looked after and get their chance to back to the wild. Yep, those zebra aprons are really fun. Thanks for all the kenyan news and info. Diane

  2. I have actually not been to the elephant orphanage, I will make a point of taking my kids there! Otherwise nice pictures of Nairobi...

  3. Diane, it really is so nice to know that some wild animals will go back into the wild. At the elephant orphanage they let the elephant make the decision as to when to venture into the wild and make the wild their home. The elephants will often return to the orphanage for a visit and can recognize their trainers many years later. Amazing!

  4. OtienoHongo, how great that I've managed to find a place you haven't been to yourself in Nairobi! I'm sure you will enjoy it as much as your children :-)

  5. An elephant orphanage! How wonderful! I didn't know a place like that existed - can't wait to see the movie!

  6. TheProfessor'sWife, I can't wait to see the movie too! It will be in 3D so that will be even more interesting. I've seen the trailer on the big screen and it looks fantastic.

  7. This was pretty darn good post..very informative! Those elephants were too cute and wow..had no idea! That is just too cool and very precious. I love elephants and really feel for their plight! Well, too bad about the memory card but you do have excellent photos. The trailer (something came up saying I needed quick time to view it) no big deal I'm using a fairly new laptop)..but I can just come back..I did see the Curchhill clip or chunks of it (looks like they were doing the twist in the beginning)..but very tame.
    Now the Carnivore Restaurant (lo)..that name is classiic and I loved the zebra aprons!! You out did yourself here- nice job! I don't know if you left a comment on the previous post but I have to come back anyway..I wanted to know where you took off to?
    Have a great weekend-:)

  8. Thank you Regina. Glad you really liked the post. You can watch the trailer by downloading quick time. It shouldn't be any problem. The 3D movie is coming out in April. Try and catch it! I'm visiting up country.

  9. Meat, meat, meat! Sounds good! Love the zebra aprons. And those baby elephants are so cute. Hey I show up as a follower on your blog now and my comment show'd up! Yeah! I love hearing about your travels!

  10. Yeah, Candy I "see" you now. So glad you popped by again and that you comment showed up quickly this time. I'm going to be doing more posts on Kenya soon.

  11. I totally fall for the baby elephants :-) gosh they are so tiny and cute !
    and i admit that the Carnivore restaurant would be my kind of least once !

  12. I agree Lala. They are so cute. Just look at the eyelashes on the baby in the first photo. Hard to believe they grow up to be so large.

  13. HI Regina, I've embedded the video of the elephant orphanage to make it easier for people to view. I see that the other site changed its video player in the very short time period after I posted it. You can now view the video from my blog (or on youtube).

  14. I'm sure I'll love the movie Born to be Wild! Thanks for the heads up.


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